Skip to comments.Archives Thief Gets Two Years (No, not Sandy Berger)
Posted on 05/27/2005 3:40:39 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
A Virginia man was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for stealing more than 100 Civil War-era documents from the National Archives, including some he tried to sell on eBay.
Howard Harner, 68, took letters authored by Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and other historical figures. Federal prosecutors sought a lengthy sentence to help discourage trafficking in stolen American history.
Harner, of Staunton, pleaded guilty in March to hiding the documents in his clothing and smuggling them out of a National Archives research room from 1996 to 2002. Prosecutors said he made $47,314 by selling the documents to a history buff and through various auctions.
He expressed remorse to U.S. District Judge James Robertson and pledged to do whatever he could to help recover 61 documents that still are missing. The judge then handed down the two-year sentence and ordered Harner to pay a $10,000 fine.
Authorities caught Harner after a Civil War researcher from Pennsylvania noticed on eBay that someone was trying to sell a letter written by Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead. The researcher recalled reviewing the document at the National Archives and notified archives officials.
The thefts led to tight new regulations that require checking researchers' shoes and clothes as they enter and leave the building and forbidding anyone to bring purses into the research room. All four archivists for the agency's Civil War collection attended the sentencing yesterday.
"This sentence sends a very clear signal that theft of cultural property belonging to the American people will not be tolerated," U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein said in a statement.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Last month, Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Federal prosecutors are recommending he be fined $10,000 and stripped of his security clearance for three years.
"I've made a mistake and I've taken responsibility for it," Berger said Monday when asked by a reporter if he saw the prosecution as politically motivated. "I'm ready to move on and not cast blame."***
We need to make very certain that we, the people, got something in return for Berger's plea deal. Like for whose benefit the documents were being stolen, when was the order given, who was involved in the conspiracy, and who knew about it .......
Apparently Berger's plea deal is conditioned on Berger's "cooperation." This is what we demand to know:
(1) Have all the people who conspired with Berger been named and prosecuted?
(2) Did Berger actually destroy stolen docs--as he said---or are they being secreted for Berger's self-serving reasons: (a) for Hillary's campaign in exchange for Berger getting a political appointment, for (b) Berger's financial benefit in his oil consulting business, (c) to coverup 9/11?
(3) Berger admitted to stealing documents the Archives did not list as missing---what did he do with these? Is his plea deal conditioned on Berger returning these as well?
(4) who was in on the coverup?
In a public statement, Noel Hillman, chief of the Justice Departments public integrity section, would not discuss Bergers motivation, but said the former national security adviser understood the rules governing the handling of classified materials.
And why isn't the public allowed to share the info about Berger's motivation?? Why is Hillman holding this back? These compelling questions should be posed to the proper authorities.
Here's where you can send your concerns about Berger's plea deal. This is the judge who will sentence Berger July 8. Caution: phone nunber listed is a prosecutor's personal phone line - keep messages short and civil.
U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson
c/o US District Court
US Dept of Justice
555 4th Street NW
Washington, DC 20530
PHONE (202) 514-6933
Stealing old documents must be getting to be more prevalent. We just had a man arrested recently for stealing records out of our office (approx. 1814-1824), after a year-long investigation. He also stole documents from other courthouses in Pa. Thing is, none of them sold for more than about $15.00! Not worth getting a police record for! He, too, was selling them on EBay. )
All of you Freepers who are Archivists and Records Managers - don't trust ANYONE! We trusted one person, and this is what happened.
Good questions! I've got one more: Did Berger put back anything that had been doctored?
Unless of course the theft is about documents the government no longer wants you to see.
Allen Weinstein... is he any relation to the Weinstein over at DOJ doing the Russia collusions thing?
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